The Toy Association presented their 2019 Toy of the Year Award nominees. While they have categories for various nominated toys (eg. action figures, collectibles, tech) you are probably most interested in their board game category nominees.
You can vote for your favorite nominees in all of these categories at their website.
The Toy Association is the not-for-profit trade association, consisting of over 950 members, which represents all businesses that design, produce, license, and deliver toys and youth entertainment for kids of all ages.
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, by Fantasy Flight Games, is a cooperative, card game where teams of heroes from The Lord of the Rings lore take on the Dark Lord and his influences, represented by encounter cards. The goal of the game is to complete all of the stages in a scenario before players lose all their heroes or the threat becomes too great.
“In The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, you have taken part in adventures spanning across Middle-earth, from the scorching deserts of Harad to the seaport of the Grey Havens, from the streets of Minas Tirith to the wilds of Rhovanion, and along the way you have battled all manner of monsters, and even the host of Mordor itself. But now, for the first time, the power is in your hands to create your own story and define your own journey.” [source]
Unlike the other adventure packs, which provide a linear quest, The Wizard’s Quest and The Woodland Realm custom scenarios allow players to craft their own adventures. These sets are also compatible with each other and can be combined for more options or played on their own. Each Custom Scenario Kit comes with seven quest cards which can be used to shape the narrative of the adventure, and guide which encounter cards fit the story. Once the quests are setup, players can choose between a Quick-build (allowing adventure construction in minutes), or Advanced-build (which allows greater customization).
In a 2-player game, players can play against each other’s scenarios in a competitive, solo challenge called Race Against the Shadow. Alternatively, you can do the same challenge in a 4-player game in teams of two.
The scenarios were originally available at the Gen Con 2018 and Fellowship 2018 events but will soon be available at retail.
Related: The Dice Tower videos featuring The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game
Hero Realms Journeys is the latest Kickstarter project from White Wizard Games, which adds six new expansions to the existing Hero Realms card game. Hero Realms was designed by Ben Cichoski, Robert Dougherty, Darwin Kastle, and Daniel Mandel and is a fantasy-themed, deck-building, card game featuring competitive play for 2-4 players. Players attempt to reduce each other’s health to zero, after recruiting help from a market deck that includes champions, weapons, spells, and events. Multiple expansions have since been released which dramatically changes game play, and includes the ability to play various characters (such as a Cleric, Fighter, Ranger, Thief, or Wizard), or fight cooperatively against a Boss, or compete in a campaign mode.
Hero Realms Journeys features four, 12-card packs. There is the “Hunters” and “Travelers” packs which feature new Champions and Actions for the market deck, and the “Conquest” and “Discovery” packs which each contain 6 new Quests and 6 new Relics. At the beginning of the game each player is given a random quest, which can be shared with teammates, but are unknown to opponents. Relic cards are also dealt into a “relic pile” for each quest card in the game, while the rest of the relics are added to the market.
The Ancestry Pack adds 20 cards which allows players to be a Dwarf, Elf, Ogre, Orc, or Smallfolk, who all have their own strengths and weaknesses. These can be combined with any character packs or played by themselves. So, if an Elven Ranger or Dwarven Fighter was always your jam, Hero Realms has you covered with multiple race-class combinations. Each race comes with an Ancestry card which shows health modifications and special rules, an Ancestral skill or Ability card, and two cards which modify the starting deck.
The Lost Village Campaign Deck features a full color adventure book and over 100 cards, including 12 over-sized Master cards.
The Hero Realms Journeys Kickstarter campaign has multiple tiers to allow backers to fund only a few of the expansions, all the way up to everything which currently exists for the Hero Realms game. The project is seeking funding until Thursday, December 6th, 2018, is already well over 100% funded, and is expected to deliver in December of 2019.
In collaboration with Toys for Tots and Ronald McDonald House, White Wizard Games also plan to donate games to a children’s charity to brighten their lives over the holiday season. You don’t even have to back the project to participate. Each person who signs up for their newsletter, which will provide information about the progress of the Hero Realms Kickstarter and other news from White Wizard Games, will add a game to be donated.
Related: The Dice Tower reviews Hero Realms, Hero Realms: The Ruin of Thandar, and Hero Realms Boss Deck – The Dragon
Sword & Sorcery (also known as Sword & Sorcery: Immortal Souls) was originally released in 2017 and quickly sold out even though it was released with many other critically acclaimed dungeon crawlers that year. Sword & Sorcery is a cooperative, fantasy, dungeon delving board game in which 1-5 players combat the forces of evil, controlled by the game itself. Players control legendary characters recalled from the dead and made immortal by Three Gods, resulting in them being weakened by resurrection, but grow stronger through story-driven quests.
Sword & Sorcery: Ancient Chronicles is a standalone expansion to the original game which sets up a new story cycle and serves as a new starting point for the game. The characters from this game are compatible with the original if players wish to replay it with the newer heroes, or vice versa, if players want to play with the original heroes in this game. The story takes place in the distant past of events narrated in the original game. Sword & Sorcery: Ancient Chronicles is designed by Simone Romano and Nunzio Surace from Gremlin Project (also known for Galaxy Defenders), with art by Mario Barbati, Fabrizio Fiorentino, Phroilan Gardner, and Fausto Gutierrez, and distributed by Ares Games.
The Kickstarter project has a single, Legendary Hero, pledge level which includes the special Kickstarter content, as well as unlocked stretch goals. Its set to end on Wednesday, November 21st, 2018, with expected delivery taking place in December of 2019. Its already surpassed its funding goal with over 1700 backers.
Broken Hearts: The Unconventional Relationship Card Game is designed for breaking the ice with strangers, matchmaking within a group of friends, or families who want to spend quality time. The game is designed by Joey Teh, Keely Sim, and Seik Yee Thoo, and will test relationship skills and your personal boundaries as you build and break hearts to win the game.
To win a player has to form connections by linking a complete set of 5 unique heart cards. At the start of the game, players are dealt 7 cards and they can place any unique heart cards they have in front of them. If they have matching heart cards, they keep these in their hand. As 1 of their 2 actions they can play an ‘I like you!’ card to link to somebody else’s card, or link to their own card (in an act of self love) with a matching duplicate from their hand, or play an ‘I want you!’ card to steal a connection from somebody else. To confirm the connection, both players must perform the action as depicted on the heart card. These include the ‘ET Touch’, the ‘Blow Kiss’, the ‘Heart Sign’, the ‘Pinky Promise’, and the ‘Flirty Wink’. Players can also reject connections to their own heart cards or any other actions from players if they play an ‘I Hate You!’ card. There are also ‘Broken Heart’ cards which destroy existing relationships made by connections. To spice things up even further, there are 3 types of event cards which change up the game dynamics.
There are multiple pledge levels which adds more deluxe components the higher up the pledge levels you go. The Broken Hearts: The Unconventional Relationship Card Game Kickstarter project is almost 100% funded, and will end its funding on Friday, November 23rd 2018. Its expected to ship in May of 2019.
A second printing of Welcome to… with new expansions for the game has launched on Kickstarter. In this roll-and-write dice game (without dice), players build the best new town in 1950s United States. Instead of dice, cards are flipped from 3 piles to make 3 action sets to fill in a house on your street in numerical order. Actions are taken to increase point values of estates built or score points at the end of the game for the best buildings, parks and pools. Welcome To… caters for solo and large groups of players because of its communal actions (think Bingo with more strategy and less retired people).
Thematic Neighborhood Sheet Packs have been added as expansions to the base game and serve as refill packs. While the pretty decorations change the feel of the game a bit the packs also come with new ways to score to add strategic variety. In the Halloween themed sheet pack, a spooky neighborhood has players build houses then choose a trick or a treat. Circling a ghost marks the trick while circling the candy is the treat. The firsts player to reach a certain amount of either type can declare it as their bonus which prevents all other players from claiming it as their bonus. In the Zombie Outbreak themed sheet pack the neighborhood needs to be protected from zombies. Ammo is collected, barricades are repaired, and the horde must be repelled.
Welcome To… is designed by Benoit Turpin, with art by Anne Heidsieck, and published by Blue Cocker Games. It supports 1-100 players (depending on the number of score sheets available), for players aged 10+, and plays in roughly 25 mins. The Welcome To… 2nd printing & expansions Kickstarter project will run until Tuesday, November 20th 2018, with shipping expected in March of 2019. The project has made 600% of its funding goal with close to 1500 backers.
In June of 2019 the Men in Black movie, from Sony Pictures, will hit cinemas at the same time Ghostbusters celebrates its 35th Anniversary. Men In Black/Ghostbusters: Ecto-terrestrial Invasion will be the first of many games for both franchises in 2019.
Men In Black/Ghostbusters: Ecto-terrestrial Invasion will be loaded with miniatures and will feature Peter Venkman, Egon Spangler, Ray Stanz, and Winston Zeddmore, as the Ghostbusters, and Agent J, Agent K, Agent L and Zed, as the MIB team. Together, they’ll tackle the threat of the Ecto-terrestrials who attempt to overwhelm earth’s defenses, but there’s always enough time for friendly competition when stomping invaders. A combination of rolling dice and take-that card play form the core of the mechanisms utilized while highly detailed miniatures from Ninja Division (known for Super Dungeon Explore) will add table presence.
“We are excited to bring these two iconic properties together along with an amazing group of development partners. We love the fun story we are telling with this game and hope fans will bring it to the tabletop again and again.” -Jerry Bennington, IDW Publishing’s VP of New Product Development [source]
The Men In Black/Ghostbusters: Ecto-terrestrial Invasion board game features art by Derek Laufman, is designed by Panda Cult Games, and published by IDW Games. It will see release in late 2019 with additional stand-alone games for each franchise slated for later that year.
In 1968, George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead’s cinematic release enthralled moviegoers and gave people something new to be afraid of. Now, 50 years later, the zombies have hewn their own sub-genre with a large number of games based on this theme.
CMON Ltd., who owe a large part of their success to their first game, Zombicide, have acquired the license from Living Dead Media to create branded board games and associated play accessories based on the Night of the Living Dead property. New games which CMON Ltd. plan to produce are officially approved by Image Ten who are the original production company and custodians of the iconic film.
“Night of the Living Dead is the quintessential zombie movie. It’s an honor to work with such a property, and we are excited to be able to partner with Living Dead Media and Image Ten on creating a game worthy of the movie’s legacy.” – Geoff Skinner, CMON VP of Media Development [source]
CMON Ltd. will be partnering with Evolution USA LLC who manage the licensing and brand for Living Dead Media. They had previously partnered on the Netflix series, Narcos, which will see release on November 23rd.
CEO of Living Dead Media, Steve Walsh, said that a portion of profits from the sale of these products will be donated to the George A. Romero Foundation (GARF) in honor of George A. Romero.
The announcement to create games based on Night of the Living Dead coincides with CMON Ltd.’s opening of their new L.A. office. For more details read the news release on the CMON website.
Related: The Dice Tower looks at Zombicide
Warhammer Age of Sigmar is a universe created by Games Workshop where, traditionally, miniature war games have been set. Recently, however, Games Workshop have branched out and partnered with other publishers to produce games in non-traditional form, such as Warhammer 40k Dice Masters by WizKids, and now Warhammer: Age of Sigmar – The Rise & Fall of Anvalor as revealed at Essen 2018. This game is intended for 1-4 players, is designed by Rustan Håkansson (known for Nations, Dungeon Rush, and Tribes: Early Civilization), and is also produced by WizKids.
Here’s the story so far:
“Many previous attempts to build a lasting fortification at Anvalor have failed. Its strategic location on the Great Parch, a particularly arid region of Aqshy, the Realm of Fire, is of supreme importance. However, each new effort to establish a significant foothold has also irked a new foe, an enemy who rises to the challenge of thwarting the attempt. Equally distant from Anvilgard, Hammerhal Aqsha and the City of Brimstone, the competing factions of those great cities have put their quarrels aside and committed to a final push to rebuild Anvalor together. Whoever can secure the new stronghold will also dominate the Great Parch, significantly strengthening their influence in all the Mortal Realms.” [source]
In The Rise & Fall of Anvalor, players are tasked to build and defend Anvalor from enemy assault but are secretly working to gather the most Influence and secure dominance over Anvalor, even though it may cause the fall of the city. Players obtain Influence by constructing City Buildings and defeating enemies during assaults.
The game consists of:
- Over 180 tiles
- 6 different player factions
- 3 different enemy factions
There is another 4-player variant included for additional game play content. Expected released date is the end of April 2019.
Upper Deck are pumping out Legendary content at a significant rate at the moment and Legendary: Venom, the 18th expansion, was probably inspired by the release of the recent Venom movie. This expansion requires a Legendary core set to play such as Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game. In Legendary, 1-5 players recruit heroes through deck building in order to defeat the mastermind and their henchmen.
The Legendary: Venom expansion adds 100 new cards from the Marvel Comics Venomverse team consisting of 5 venomized heroes, 2 masterminds (including Poison Thanos), 2 new villain groups, and 4 new schemes. The Excessive Violence keyword returns along with new game mechanisms and new twists on old ones. For example, when a Symbiote villain ambushes the city they could bond with another villain to create a powerful adversary.
This small box expansion will feature comic book artwork and is not part of the recent movie sets which have been released. The expected release date is February 13th, 2019.
Related: Dice Tower content for Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game
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